International Women's Day - In conversation with Wendy Choy
Wendy Choy, Director, Client Services in Hong Kong answers our International Women's Day questions on what equality means to her.
What does equality in the workplace mean to you?
I believe that equality in the workplace goes beyond box checking on gender and diversity quotas and is much more about the ongoing practice of mindfulness. Specifically, whether we are taking ownership to consistently be open and welcoming of different perspectives. It’s a journey, and it’s been incredible to see several great ideas and creative solutions emerge from the simple step of respecting and encouraging people from different genders, culture and professional backgrounds to share their views.
What do women bring to your field that men don’t?
Over the course of my career, I have had the privilege to work with some amazing leaders, both male and female. They may have different styles of working, but all of them have made a point of saying that arbitrarily bringing in talent based on gender doesn’t always add to the quality and credibility of work. Instead, they relentlessly pushed for representation across a much wider spectrum – from skillsets and age groups, to perspectives from different specialisms and cultures. Their empathy certainly created a much more open and collaborative environment, resulting in new and creative solutions for the team and our clients.
What more do you think can be done to promote true balance within workplaces?
Balanced and equal workplaces happen when everyone, regardless of gender, can operate on a level playing field and have equal access to opportunities and resources. This won’t happen overnight, so we need to practice being more open and aware in addressing confirmation bias and cultivate a workplace that gives credit to healthy discussion and collaboration. The creative industry is well positioned to normalise gender equality, and alongside our clients, we can approach content creation in way that does justice to our clients’ brand purpose, while adding visibility and gender representation in the stories we tell.
What do you think the key issues are in tackling gender equality worldwide?
We’ve see seen significant pushes around gender equality, from affirmative action, narrowing pay gaps, to encouraging men to speak up against negative stereotypes and behaviours. Beyond ongoing progress on these major themes, I see an emerging trend around the power of connecting. Being Asian, multi-lingual and with work experience in cities like Hong Kong, Singapore and Yangon, I’ve often contributed as a facilitator of sorts —translating cultural nuances and connecting ideas between local and global counterparts and have stood witness to the great results these communications bring. The same should happen for gender equality— can we work harder to facilitate different styles of communication by women from different backgrounds? Can we advocate to include as many voices from different women in everything we do? Yes, we can.